Today marks the 26th National Sorry Day and Stolen Generations survivors and their families are still looking for healing.

The first Sorry Day was held one-year after the 1997 Bringing Them Home report was tabled in parliament. It detailed the history of Australian governments forcibly removing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families with the aim of assimilation into white society.

On top of the terrible grief and trauma of separation, many children suffered cruelty, sexual abuse and strict repression of their language, culture, and identity.

In Western Australia, the impact of these policies was significant with data showing 57% of the adult Aboriginal population in the state are either Stolen Generations survivors or their descendants.

The West Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation and Stolen Generations support network Bringing Them Home WA are hosting a National Sorry Day commemoration at Perth’s Stolen Generation Memorial in Wellington Square today.

Co-chair of Bringing them Home WA, Tony Hansen says we must not forget the brothers and sisters of the Stolen Generations that have gone before us, or the pain and suffering to all Stolen Generations people and their families.

“The impact to the mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters was profound – and sadly a lot of those families never reconnected again”.

In 2017, a review found the bulk of the 54 recommendations made in the Bringing them Home report have still not been implemented.

Among the key recommendations was reparations for the Stolen Generations, but Hansen, a Stolen Generations survivor from Marribank Mission, says mob in Western Australia are still waiting.

“WA and Queensland are the only 2 States that have not established compensation schemes for Stolen Generations Survivors and this discrimination is very apparent when Stolen Generations survivors attend National events such as the recent 15th Anniversary of the Kevin Rudd Apology to Stolen Generations,” he said.

“The Stolen Generations Survivors from WA advised me that they were having conversations in Canberra with Survivors from the Northern Territory, the ACT and Victoria, which have all established Compensation Schemes in recent years, and they are getting increasingly angry that WA Survivors are left out and that this is part of an ongoing betrayal of trust.”

Last year, Bringing Them Home WA, Yokai Healing our Spirit, and Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation used National Sorry Day to launch a petition urging action from the WA government on compensation.

The Legislative Council Committee on Environment and Public Affairs is still considering the matter.

A protest rally outside Parliament House in Perth is being organised for June 13, and Hansen hopes the WA Premier will meet a delegation of Stolen Generation to discuss the important issue.

You can listen to Tony Hansen’s full interview here: